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Lightning Fall to Avalanche in Game One of the Stanley Cup Final by a Final Score of 4-3 in Overtime

(Photo via Tampa Bay Lightning)

By Jake Ricker

The Stanley Cup Finals had finally arrived, and the Lightning looked to take steal game one against a well-rested Avalanche team. But as they would quickly find out, this wasn’t their average opponent.

1st Period

The Avalanche came out strong-flying up and down the ice. They tested Vasilevskiy early and looked to quickly take control of this game. As the Avalanche continued to push, even ringing one off the post, the Lightning needed to do something to get the momentum back. Luckily for them, the Avalanche would take the game's first penalty sending the Lightning to the power play.

Despite a few good chances on the power-play, Colorado successfully killed off the penalty and went right back to putting pressure on the Lightning. Colorado would then finally capitalize as Vasilevskiy thought he had the puck secured, but instead, it was behind him where Landeskog was standing to put it home for a 1-0 Avalanche lead.

Just a few minutes later, the Lightning suffered the same fate as Nichushkin took another quick shot that beat Vasilevskiy five-hole for a 2-0 Avalanche lead. The Lightning quickly found themselves in a big hole and needed to stop the bleeding. Luckily Nick Paul came to the Lightning's rescue as he stumbled toward the net and just pushed a pack I to the back of the net to make it a 2-1 hockey game.

The Lighting looked like they picked up a ton of momentum and now had the crowd quiet for the first time. The Lightning kept pushing for the tying goal, but things took a turn for the worse as they found themselves in penalty trouble. The Lightning would take a late tripping penalty, but just a few minutes later, Cirelli was called for another trip giving the Avalanche a long 5-on-3. Vasilevskiy made a few big saves early, but the Avalanche kept pushing and finally broke through as Lehkonen fired the ounce home to give the Avalanche another two-goal lead.

The first would finally come to a close with the Avalanche holding all the momentum and a chance to shut down this game early. The Lighting were no strangers to trailing by two goals and would not go away quietly.

2nd Period

The Lightning came out much stronger in the second than first, even ringing a shot off the post. With the Lighting now finding their feet and the Avalanche still playing at a high level, both teams were creating chances at both ends of the ice. The Physicality then began to ramp up, with Colorado throwing the majority of the hits. After some pushing and showing behind Vasilevskiy, both teams would pick up roughing calls, and we would play 4-on-4 hockey. Neither team could capitalize with the open ice, though, and both penalties expired.

The Avalanche still had most of the momentum in this game as they continued to outshoot the Lightning. The Lighting kept on pushing back, and they would finally be rewarded as Kucherov danced through defenders and made an excellent pass to Ondrej Palat, who buried it to bring the Lightning within one.

The Lightning then kept their foot on the gas, and just 48 seconds later, Sergachev ripped a shot from the point and tied the game at three. The building was not silent, and the Lightning finally found their legs. But this did not stop the Avalanche from fighting back as they continued to play a fast pace game. The Lightning held off the Avalanche's push and would head to the third tied at three.

3rd period

With both teams now playing their best hockey, it started to feel like the next goal would win this game, even in the early parts of the third. The Lighting picked up a few early chances, but the Avalanche quickly shut them down. Colorado would quickly respond with a few chances of their own, but Vasilevskiy was now locked in and held them off. The Lighting would then get a huge opportunity to take their first lead of the game as the Avalanche took a high-sticking penalty. The Lightning wouldn't get many good looks, though, and they failed to capitalize.

The tension continued to build as time winded down, but it seemed neither team could get a puck into the back of the net as both goaltenders shut down their crease. With just under two minutes to go, Maroon made a potentially costly mistake, as he flipped a puck over the glass, taking a delay of game penalty. Luckily the Lightning held off the Avalanche for the remaining of the third period, and we would head to overtime tied at three.


The Lightning quickly killed off the rest of the maroon penalty, and they then quickly got to work with an early chance that was turned away. Unfortunately for the Lightning, overtime was short-lived as an unforced turnover in the neutral zone led to an odd-man rush where Burakovsky fired the puck home to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead in the series.

Final thoughts

The Lightning stumbled out of the gate early, and Vasilevskiy was not his normal self. The Avalanche, on the other hand, came out flying, and they took advantage of the Lightning's slow start. Things then quickly began to turn around for the Lighting after the first, and they came all the way back to tie the game. Unfortunately, they fell short by just one goal but could have easily stolen this game.

The Lightning are known for their ability to not panic and adjustments after games. If they can improve the power play, start on time and play a full 60, there is no doubt they can beat the Avalanche. While this game was disappointing, there were a lot of positive signs from the second period on.

Three Stars

Our Three Stars:

1. Burakovsky (AVS)

2. Landeskog (AVS)

3. Paul (TBL)

Medias three stars

1. Burakovsky (AVS)

2. Landeskog (AVS)

3. Rantanen (AVS)

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